(The Lancet) Combining virtual reality and treadmill training helps prevent falls in older adults better than treadmill training alone, according to a new randomised controlled trial… The authors say that the intervention, which combines the physical and cognitive aspects of walking, could potentially be used in gyms, rehabilitation centres or nursing homes to improve safe walking and prevent falls in older adults or people with disorders which affect movement such as Parkinson's disease.
Falls in adults aged 65 and over account for 1-2% of all healthcare expenditure in high-income countries. 30% of older adults living in the community, and as many as 60-80% of older adults with mild cognitive impairment, dementia or Parkinson's disease, fall at least once a year. Falls can cause injuries, loss of independence, disability, institutionalisation, and death. Even without injuries, falls often lead to fear of falling, avoiding leaving the house and depression, which in turn often leads to inactivity, muscle weakness, impaired balance and gait, more falls and more social isolation.[Click the title, above, to post a comment.]